The problem of faith in God is a problem of experience of God. And – we add, considering the numerous episodes of aberrant religious fanaticism – it is a problem of authentic experience of true God.
There is no man or woman on earth who has never invoked the Sky or recognized a mysterious road companion ”passing” next to them. But from here to the profession of explicit faith there is a long way to go, at times the journey does not seem even to begin even or does not lead to any destination, any meaning: it stops after a few clumsy steps. The providential circumstance, the merciful action which has reached us, the warm intuition that brought us back to life and has opened a horizon of new energies, is dismantled and reduced to a pile of inert causes – secure or hypothetical – that do not touch our personal center anymore. Perhaps it was just a dream. Or worse, a hallucination due to having taken the wrong way the therapeutic dose of what reinforces us physically and warms our feelings?
The Benedictine tradition, for the sake of clarity, offers the exercise of divine presence. It departs from the confirmed fact that true God – Who is good – has left and continues to leave His traces for people. But the person must move and recognize them, decoding His language. Fear not, you can decode His signs.
He has leaned towards the humane, he has even assumed it. The context of this operation is our entire lives. On the level of the senses, we have to go the route of the weaned child again. Observe it to better understand your adulthood.
He runs around the house and in open spaces, and explores and savors every encounter: those who take care of him have set him free; yet, it is to the arms of those who take care of him that he will return and will be delighted to stay in them. The exercise of God’s presence departs from our potentials in act and leads them back, from time to time, to their origin: it moves from knowledge that our energies and achievements are our own, yet they do not belong to us as something exclusively private. Moreover: it moves from awareness that the origin makes us also partake in His mysterious abundance without confusion between it and our I.
True God does not compete with my freedom, He wanted it. God is not the refuge in which, thanks to a gratifying union, I heal all my wounds. He can be also a physician, yet He is much more than this and opens me to the “other” dimension. I am not an unaware child, I am an adult, or called to be one, trusting that there is a relation and a patient sight that envelops my roads and my steps. Try to focus on the fact that in the meetings and the fights in your life, you can bet on what lasts for eternity and tell it to the One who has already touched you: retrieve within yourself the Face and the Heart and the hold of the good hands of the One who is speaking to you and leans towards you.
Annamaria Valleys OSBap – monastery of San Pietro, Montefiascone (VT); Theological Institute aggregated to the Viterbo University S. Anselm (www.anselmianum.com)